Screening of Lead in consumer products by pptfiles


									Screening of Lead in consumer products

Recently, there have been a number of recalls of toys and other consumer products in
the USA because their lead content exceeded the regulatory maximum level. The U.
S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released a CPSC Staff Study Report on the
evaluation of lead test kits on 22 October 2007. This report concluded that some lead
test kits sold to consumers for use in detecting the presence of lead may not be
reliable. Both false negatives and false positives were produced by these test kits.
CPSC accordingly do not recommend the use of consumer lead test kits.

In the report, however, it also mentions that, in a limited study (2007), X-ray
fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) correctly identified the presence or absence of lead
for 12 out of 13 samples, with one false negative for a sample of metal jewelry with
nickel and copper plating. The report concludes that professional application of XRF
technologies may be a useful way to screen for the presence or absence of lead in
products, particularly for surface level lead. XRF detectors have limited depth of
penetration so, for certain applications, such as children’s metal jewelry, it is possible
for the surface coating to mask the presence of potentially hazardous leaded base
metal underneath, resulting in a false negative test. The CPSC staff believes that
laboratory analysis remains the only accurate and reliable way to detect and quantify
lead in products and assess any possible risk posed by use of these products. It further
points out that testing by a qualified laboratory and trained personnel is the only way
to accurately assess the potential risk posed by a consumer product that may contain
lead. The full report is obtainable from the following website:

In Hong Kong, there are a number of laboratories which are equipped with XRF.
Interested persons may need to contact them to enquire whether they could provide
the screening test for lead using this technique. Currently, no laboratories are
accredited by HKAS to perform this test. HKAS strongly encourages laboratories
wishing to provide this testing service to seek accreditation.

HKAS has accredited a number of laboratories for analysis of lead content in toys and
children’s products and other consumer products. Persons requiring this laboratory
service can access a directory of laboratories accredited for this test obtainable from accredited by HKAS for
analysis of Lead content.doc.
The specific tests accredited are listed either under the Toys and Children’s Products
or the Chemical Testing test categories. Laboratories accredited for this test have been
assessed by an assessment team and their competence to perform the accredited tests
has been demonstrated to be complying with international standard ISO/IEC
17025:2005. Their testing methods have also been validated and assessed by a team of
technical experts.

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